53 journalists and media workers have been reported killed since 7 October, the deadliest period for killings of journalists since records began. (Updated 20/11/2023)
The overwhelming majority of casualties have come from Gaza where, under indiscriminate aerial bombardment, intensifying ground operations, power and communications blackouts, 37 colleagues have died. Overall more than 12,000 lives have been claimed in just five weeks. The killing must stop.
[Click on the images to read individual biographies]
As the Israeli army continues its relentless assault following the horrific Hamas attacks of 7th October, there can be absolutely no pretence of this being a war that respects the rules laid down in international humanitarian law: the many thousands of civilian casualties across Gaza clearly show this.
That Israel should legitimately seek to defend itself against atrocities committed by Hamas is one thing; doing so at the expense of thousands of innocent lives, including journalists who are providing vital coverage from an active conflict zone, is utterly reprehensible.
Israel has already explicitly told Reuters and AFP that it cannot guarantee journalists’ safety. The targeting of journalists and the lack of precaution taken by Israeli Defense Forces puts paid to the misconception that Israel is doing everything it can to limit civilian fatalities and protect innocent life.
We already knew this because over the past 22 years, 20 journalists have been killed at the hands of the IDF and not a single person has been held accountable. The majority of killings occurred in Gaza.
As of today, 22nd November, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports:
- 53 journalists and media workers confirmed dead: 37 Palestinian, 4 Israeli, and 1 Lebanese
- 11 journalists reported injured
- 3 journalists reported missing
- 18 journalists reported arrested
- Multiple assaults, threats, cyberattacks, censorship, and killings of family members
Up to now, Israel’s defence of press freedom has been tragically one-sided, ignoring the need to protect all journalists as a matter of course. Is this shocking impunity for crimes against journalists a deliberate effort to dehumanise the chroniclers of the people they have been demonising for years? Their complete inaction certainly weakens press freedom, and at the very least it suggests those 20 lives were somehow not worth the pursuit of justice.
Despite this, we are acutely aware of how this current war, the latest tragedy in a long history of Palestinian suffering across the Occupied Territories, is unfolding: and it is thanks to Gaza’s brave journalists. They are risking death every hour of every day to do whatever they can to get the news of this unfolding atrocity to the outside world, to show what is being done in the name of Israel and its international backers.
And they are doing so in the desperate hope that their words and images will change the course of this deadly conflict for the Palestinian people caught in the middle, before all is lost in Gaza.
Those on the outside, using and consuming these accounts, have a critical role. It is our duty to hold Israel accountable for its crimes, stop willfully applying double standards, and unreservedly denounce and better understand the oppression of the Palestinian people. Currently, it is they who are collectively paying the price for the despicable actions of Hamas, but it is a debt decades in the making.
With the UN ringing alarm bells about the risk of genocide, we have a moral obligation to act. We can start by levelling the playing field and telling it how it really is.
* 35 fallen colleagues appear in this post. We will update with images as they become available.
With special thanks to Gianluca Costantini, the artist whose work is featured in this article:
“I have tried to give voice through art to the tragic events involving journalists during armed conflicts. I did it for the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and since 7 October I have been doing it for the current conflict. CPJ is investigating all cases of journalists killed, injured, detained or missing. The situation is particularly critical for journalists in Gaza, tasked with documenting the conflict despite the high risks posed by Israeli troop incursions, devastating Israeli airstrikes, communication breakdowns and prolonged power outages.”
Visit Gianluca’s website, channeldraw, here.